I was born to write. But somewhere along the way I convinced myself I wasn't a writer.
My dad used to read me the newspaper as a baby. I slept in the box room at the back of the house, two rooms over from my parents. Close enough they could hear me if there was trouble, but not otherwise. My mom was one of the mothers of the nineties that believed in letting the child cry it out. After all, they'd figure it out by themselves. She also gave me the bug. That pesky travel one. I was on my first flight to Paris at three days old. No wonder I was ruined from the beginning. Had barely taken my first breaths, hardly lay my head to rest. Had spent almost negative "days at home" before I was in France.
Maybe that's why France has always felt like home. My mom is a Francophile. Self-proclaimed and proud. A wanted to buy a family home in Spain. So my sister and I could grow up on the Costa Blanca just like he did as a child. When the kids would leave in morning and come home at night. No doubt they were making a nuisance but as long as they didn't trouble my grandparents it was fair game. My grandmother was busy seducing the town with her charm and my grandfather was busy importing Sherry to Ireland and enjoying my grandmother's company. Laoire. Mr & Mrs. Both descendants of Leary. Declan the son of and Eileen the daughter. Kingstown and Queenstown. Dún Laoighaire and Cóbh. No wonder I've always been drawn to the Ocean. It was in my blood.
Queenstown. Cork. The Bay of Plenty. The rolling fields and gardens creeping down to the water. The Ports. My dream. The only dream that's remained consistent. Consistency. Even the word makes my stomach squirm.
My stomach has been in knots for weeks. It comes and goes, some days I don't even notice. Other days the morning sickness makes me wish I were never born. It gets worse in the evening actually. The water is the only thing that seems to give me any respite. How fitting that the water is my cure.
And the water is what I've been deprived of. By choice and by circumstance. The river ran dry months ago. Years even. This drought has lasted a devastatingly long time.
Maybe therein lies the cure. Water damage is never fully irreparable, right? I understand how devastating it is. How destructive. The storm, the flash flood, the landslide, the hurricane, the tsunami. Why are those words the names of my favourite songs? Why do I thrive in the thunder and live for the lightning? The storm is when I come alive. The in-between, the calm before and after, scares the life from me. Scares the water away.
So bring me the tears. Bring me the drizzle, the rain, the hail, the snow, the freeze, the thaw. The morning dew after the darkest night. The stream, the river, the bursting bank, the broken dam, the tidal wave.
Because never in my life have I felt more like water.
Flowing, coming and going, changing shape and form. Breathing the air in and blowing the fire out. The elements change but forever stay the same. Because I have always been the same. I have always been me. I've been running from myself. I've been drying out. I've me torching myself and the world around me. I've been burning it all to the ground. You can't fight fire with fire.
It needs water.
Find the water Jess. Chase it down until you realise it's been within you all along. There was never any drought. You just forgot where it lay. Now you remember. Breathe in deep and remember. Breathe in deep and let it soak your mind and drench your heart. Because you're made of water.
Water. Waves. You // I.
The waves may come and go. The tides may change.
But the water will always remain.
You'll always remain.